The Philadelphia Eagles welcome the Baltimore Ravens into Philly this Sunday in what should be one of the better games this weekend. The Eagles are coming off of a lackluster, last second win in Cleveland while the Ravens are flying high after a convincing win at home against division rival Cincinnati Bengals on Monday.
After watching both games last weekend is it fair to make judgements of both teams or do we need to wait a few weeks to make an assessment? Hey, this is a ’now’ sport so we have to jump right in.
The Eagles did not play their best game against the Cleveland Browns last week, which is an understatement. Michael Vick was beaten up and made some very poor decisions before leading the game winning drive. Although he looked a step slower than usual, he still had plenty of strength to get the ball where it needed to go, he just needs to make better decisions.
Improved offensive line play will help but that is a difficult task going against a formidable Ravens defense. One of the biggest weaknesses of the Eagles is its offensive line, they need to do a better job of protecting Vick and allow him to stay comfortable inside the pocket. Yes he’s dangerous outside the pocket but its also where he takes the most chances with throws and more importantly, his health.
LeSean McCoy is one of the best running backs in the game, so again, the Eagles offensive line needs to open up some lanes for McCoy to run through. And Andy Reid, who sometimes forgets that he has a running back, needs to give McCoy more carries. The Eagles offense played much better last week when McCoy got the carries to get into a rhythm.
The Eagles offense has a lot of weapons and it is at its best when they keep opponents guessing with their play selection. Those are the two keys to the game on offense for Philly, the play of the offensive line and handing the ball more to LeSean McCoy, especially since the health of Jeremy Maclin is in question.
Defensively, the Eagles played well last week. They pressured the Browns and even though they didn’t get a high number of sacks they did force 4 interceptions. One of Baltimore’s weaknesses is the offensive line so if the front four can push the pocket, they can force Joe Flacco into some mistakes.
The key on defense though, is stopping Ray Rice. If the defense can limit his success early, Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron does his impression of Reid and forgets about the run. If that happens the Eagles can attack the Baltimore offensive line up front and sit back in the secondary making plays.
Joe Flacco seems to be in a nice groove so far but hitting him early could change all of that, but the key is stopping the running of Ray Rice.
Overall, the Ravens looked a lot better than the Eagles did last week but that means nothing when the Eagles get ready for their home opener on Sunday. Adjustments must be made but Philadelphia has the skill and speed players to beat the Ravens, especially since the Ravens are coming off a short and emotionally charged week.
Add it all up and we should be in for one heck of a game.
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